Rules for Talking and Listening
When you and I engage in conversation, I can't control how well you communicate; I can only control how well I receive what you're telling me. I can go on the alert to things that may distort the messages you're sending me—I call them filters. To be a good listener, you've got to know what your filters are. Maybe you're coming into a given conversation with an agenda. Maybe you're judging the speaker and don't trust him at all. Maybe you're angry. Any one of these psychological filters can dramatically distort what you hear.
Filters cause you to decide things ahead of time. You may have prejudged your partner and decided that he's a hound dog, that he doesn't love you anymore. Result: No matter what he says to you, you're going to distort it to conform to what you're already thinking, feeling, and believing.
Take an inventory of your filters. If you're not aware of them, you can defeat the best communicator in the world because you'll distort the message, regardless of how well it was sent.